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Clippers snap eight-game home losing streak

12/17/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Clippers were a different
team after coach Alvin Gentry was ejected in the first quarter and
assistant Dennis Johnson took over.

Michael Olowokandi had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the
Clippers, who used a pair of 15-3 runs to beat San Antonio 91-79
Monday night and snap their eight-game home losing streak to the
Spurs.

"Obviously, it had an effect, to some degree," Olowokandi
said. "We were in very capable hands with Dennis, and we ran some
very simple plays that everybody was able to comprehend.

"Whatever suggestions he made definitely sunk in," Olowokandi
said.

Gentry departed with 1:49 left in the first after referees Gary
Benson and Derek Richardson called technical fouls against him a
minute and 33 seconds apart. The technicals seemed to fire up the
Clippers, who turned a seven-point deficit into a 42-37 advantage
as Quentin Richardson's 3-pointer with 4:16 left in the half capped
the first 15-3 run.

Elton Brand helped fuel the second rally with six of his 16
points, including a tip-in that gave Los Angeles its biggest lead,
64-46, with 5:56 left in the third quarter.

"Alvin reminded me when he went out to make sure I got the guys
to pressure them and make sure they stay up on them -- just the same
thing he would do," Johnson said. "I really didn't change
anything that Alvin would have done."

Spurs center David Robinson, held to 10 points in 30 minutes,
noticed how much different the Clippers' intensity was after
Gentry's third ejection in three seasons as Clippers coach.

"The momentum was definitely not going in their favor at that
time," Robinson said. "Then he got ejected and it seemed like
everything turned around after that. Even the calls went a little
bit in the other direction."

Coming off their first wire-to-wire road win of the season
Saturday night at Houston, the Clippers beat the Spurs for only the
second time in the last 20 meetings.

"We started the game pretty well and the energy level was
good," Robinson said. "But we got really sloppy with turnovers --
traveling, 3-second violations, a lot of them in a row. It was just
bad, sloppy basketball. This is the NBA, and if you make 10
mistakes in a row, you're going to go from up 6 to down 10."

Los Angeles shot 52.3 percent against a defense that entered the
game with the lowest field goal percentage by opponents (40.7).

Tim Duncan had 32 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who were
0-for-9 from 3-point range. It was the first time they were blanked
from behind the arc this season.

Duncan did not go to the free throw line despite taking 29
shots.

The Spurs used a 10-3 run to pull to 77-67 with 7:45 to play.
But their momentum was derailed by technical fouls less than three
minutes apart against Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich, and the
Clippers put it away as Richardson scored 10 of his 21 points
during a 2:23 span to give the Clippers a 90-73 cushion with 3:12
left.

Olowokandi, in his third game back after missing the previous
five with a sore left knee, led the Clippers to a 49-43 halftime
lead with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Game notes
Gentry, 2-8 against San Antonio since taking the Clippers
job, got his first two seasons of NBA coaching experience as a
Spurs assistant under Larry Brown -- whose staff also included
Popovich. ... The Spurs made were 7-for-17 from 3-point range
against the Clippers in last Friday's 97-84 win at San Antonio. ...
Clippers 3-point threat Eric Piatkowski missed his third straight
game because of a lower abdominal strain. ... Brand and Olowokandi
both were picked first overall in the draft, as were Duncan and
Robinson. The only other team with two overall No. 1 picks is
Philadelphia (Allen Iverson and Derrick Coleman).